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****(UK) St Helens: 'Ever-increasing' number of SPED kids 'will not be welcome in schools'

Jan 22, 2019, St Helens Reporter: St Helens headteacher's fears over funding for children with additional needs https://www.sthelensreporter.co.uk/news/education/st-helens-headteacher-s-fears-over-funding-for-children-with-additional-needs-1-9550994 Children with additional needs are at risk from being turned away from mainstream schools due to a lack of funding, a primary school head teacher has warned. The warning came during the latest meeting of the schools forum, as governors and school heads noted the budget for 2019-20. Funding for schools is met from the Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG), a ring-fenced grant from central government, which is distributed by the local authority. … Despite an overall net increase of £5 million [$6.5M US dollars] compared with 2018-19, members expressed concern there is still not enough funds to provide support for children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND). Chairman Wayne Leatherbarrow, governor of Birchley St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Billinge, said: “The reality is that funding it not increasing significantly year on year and is not meeting the total cost of the needs of provision within St Helens.” The issue of high needs funding to support pupils with additional needs has been a long-running concern for the schools forum. In December members rejected plans to transfer £540,000 to the high needs block – one of four blocks that makes up the DSG – to fund the costs of top-up payments for children with SEND in primary and secondary schools. … Claire Cropper, head teacher at St Bartholomew’s Catholic Primary School in Rainhill, warned that if the situation does not improve then mainstream schools will begin to turn away children with additional needs. … “I think we all understand there is only a finite amount of money the government has, and this local authority has only got so much, but really it is a suggestion that people have made before. “It’s this group of children that’s being passed from one place to another and it is really, really concerning. College's Class of 2018 returns to celebrate success “Because it will get to a point where children with additional needs will not be welcome in schools, and that’s terrible.” Bill Bradbury, chairman of governors of Chapel End Primary School in Billinge, said there is an “ever-increasing” number of children who need additional support, with funding remaining “fairly static”. He also claimed the lack of high needs funding pupils is contributing to children being sent to pupil referral units (PRUs). …